Landlords beware. According to Politico, D.C. property owners should think twice about renting to EPA chief Scott Pruitt. For starters, Pruitt reportedly didn’t pay rent on time for the luxury Capitol Hill condo he leased from a lobbyist power couple at a deep discount. Although the couple ultimately got their money from him, he apparently refused to leave, prompting Vicki and Steve Hart — an energy lobbyist representing firms that Pruitt’s EPA would legislate — to change the locks once they got their squatter to leave the premises. You’d figure a guy paying only $50 per night to stay in prime D.C. real estate, and only for nights he slept there, would be prompt with the rent, but his landlords allegedly had to nag him for payment. From Politico:
A lease agreement covering February through April 2017 indicated Pruitt’s rent was “payable on the 1st day of each month, in installments of $500 on March 1, 2017 and any remaining balance on April 1, 2017 based on days of actual occupancy,” according to a memo obtained by the Campaign Legal Center.
Had Pruitt stayed in the condo every night in a given month, he would have owed $1,500 — but canceled checks reviewed by Bloomberg show Pruitt made a payment of $1,700 on Sept. 1, suggesting he eventually paid his back rent.
A spokesman for Pruitt declined to comment.
Pruitt apparently outstayed his welcome for what was supposedly a six-week crash pad for the new swamp denizen to use while he got settled in D.C. The Harts considered the lease a favor to a friend, but soon found that Pruitt was hard to get rid of. Sources familiar with the arrangement claimed that Pruitt was drunk with power over his White House appointment and had little regard for how his behavior affected others. From Politico:
That favor turned into a headache for the couple when Pruitt repeatedly asked to extend his lease and the couple began to wonder if he would ever leave. “There were gentle questions regarding, ok, when are you going to leave and what have you…and they even started sending him ads of places close by that he could rent,” said the first person.
“Scott Pruitt is the Kato Kaelin of Capitol Hill. He is the long-term houseguest who takes advantage of his hosts and refuses to take a hint about when it’s time to leave,” the second person said.
A spokesman for Pruitt did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
As for the real Kato Kaelin, he’s apparently living in what sounds like a guest house-type situation at his own property.
I moved out of that condo months ago after I found a cockroach. Currently living behind my own house! ⭐️👍🔥🍺
— Kato Kaelin (@Kato_Kaelin) April 6, 2018
Now combine Pruitt’s alleged aversion to paying rent on time and the accusation that he allegedly refused to move out with the report that his security detail broke down the building’s front door in order to rouse the EPA director from what turned out to be a late afternoon nap. In addition to not paying rent and refusing to leave, Pruitt might also prompt the destruction of property. From ABC News:
The EPA eventually agreed to reimburse the condo owner for the damage to the door, a source familiar with the arrangement told ABC News. EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox did not respond to requests for information on the incident or the reimbursement payments.
The word “eventually” really stands out given the new reports of Pruitt’s behavior as a tenant.
News of Pruitt’s arrangement with the Harts caused headaches for the Trump administration as the below-market rental from a lobbyist looks a whole lot like a gift or a bribe. The EPA claims that the arrangement passes muster, but admits that the agency didn’t investigate whether the exceedingly generous rental violated any other ethics rules.
Although Pruitt is accused of being reluctant to part with his own money, he’s apparently more laissez-faire with taxpayer money as he’s run upwards of a $100,000 tab chartering private and first class flights for business travel and had a pricey soundproof booth constructed in his office. Despite the negative attention Pruitt is bringing to an administration already plagued by scandal, President Trump said today that Pruitt is a “good man” who is doing a “great job.”